Yesterday I began the long trek down Interstate 5 to Burbank for the SoCal Genealogical Society Jamboree. Today is "DNA Day," and tomorrow thousands more people will pour in as the Jamboree begins in earnest.
I have a love/hate relationship with Interstate 5. It's the fastest way to get to L.A., but it's a straight shot for hours and hours -- if not for changing lanes to go around trucks, you'd hardly need to touch the steering wheel. It's pretty boring, and sometimes it's hard to keep your eyes open.
But, two things make it bearable: 1) Andersen's Pea Soup. The road from the coast comes out just 3 miles south of Andersen's Pea Soup's Santa Nella restaurant, which I love. I don't think I've ever ordered anything but the "Traveler's Special" -- a bottomless bowl of pea soup, delicious onion cheese rolls, and ice tea. It was scrumptious. 2) A good audio book, and boy, did I have a good one -- Kate Atkinson's latest, A God in Ruins. A wonderfully complex family story that covers four generations of one family and goes back and forth in time with the main character, Teddy Todd, an absolutely wonderful character. I laughed, I cried (seriously), and I got to L.A. without falling asleep.
So I ordered room service, which turned out not to agree with me, and I tried to get to sleep by about 9:00. One problem on my mind is that the charger cable I brought for my iPad was not working at all, so I was trying to figure out how and where I would get a new one, as I tossed and turned. I got very little sleep and was up by 6:30.
This left me with plenty of time to pick up my registration materials and get to the first presentation. I have two ribbons on my name tag so far -- "New Member," of the SoCal Genealogical Society, and "Volunteer," because I will be volunteering tomorrow and Saturday to help people with their research.. And also to discover that the store in the hotel had an iPad cable! Cost a fortune, but at least I can charge my iPad.
I went to two presentations this morning, one by Tim Jantzen on programs that can help you with interpreting and understanding your DNA results -- very rich presentation, got lots of sites to look at. And the second one was with Diahan Southard, a wonderful, funny presenter, on organizing your DNA materials. That was a very helpful presentation.
I was excited for lunchtime to roll around -- I bought a ticket to only one of the lunches, and I was going to meet up with someone I've only known online -- Jacqi Stevens, who writes the blog, "A Family Tapestry." We have communicated many times online, but had never met in person. A very large number of people were coming to the lunch, so to facilitate meeting up with her, I wrote "Jacqi" in big letters on a piece of paper, and held it up, as they do in airports for important people. It worked! I found her, and we had a very enjoyable lunch together.
The lunch was also enjoyable because of the presenter -- Christopher Schauble, an L.A. news anchor who was adopted as a baby (by wonderful people) and in 2013 began trying to find his biological parents. Much of it was on a video series he had produced and shown on the TV station. It was a pretty amazing and moving story -- when his biological mother, 81 years old and living in a nursing home, says to him "I knew the good Lord wouldn't take me from this earth without knowing whether you were all right," there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
So now, I'm taking a break, hoping to get a little siesta in before going down for the last presentation or two. So far, I'm having a great time.